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James Clear
James Clear writes at, where he shares ideas for using behavior science to improve your performance and master your habits. For fresh ideas on how to live a healthy life — both mentally and physically — join his free newsletter. Or, download his 45-page guide called Transform Your Habits.

Entries by James Clear

Masters of Habit: The Wisdom and Writing of Maya Angelou

(0) Comments | Posted March 25, 2015 | 4:47 PM

Sadly, Maya Angelou, the great American author and poet, has passed away. She was known for her award-winning autobiographies as well as for her numerous plays, scripts, poems, and essays.

Her most famous work, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, has sold millions upon millions of copies....

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How to Be Motivated Every Day: Lessons Learned From Twyla Tharp

(0) Comments | Posted March 23, 2015 | 10:59 AM

Twyla Tharp was born in Indiana and was named after the local "Pig Princess" at the Annual Muncie Fair, who went by Twila.

It wasn't the prettiest of starts, but Tharp turned it into something beautiful.

She is widely regarded as one of the greatest dancers and choreographers of the...

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The Photographer Nobody Knew: Lessons on Sharing Your Gifts With the World

(0) Comments | Posted March 16, 2015 | 12:13 PM

It was 2007 and John Maloof was working on a book about Chicago's northwest neighborhoods. On this particular day, he was hoping to find a few pictures from the 1960s that he could use in the book.

What he ended up finding was far more interesting.

After purchasing boxes full...

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How to Read More: The Simple System I'm Using to Read 30+ Books Per Year

(3) Comments | Posted March 12, 2015 | 5:05 PM

Warren Buffett, the man commonly referred to as the greatest investor of the 20th century, was standing in front of 165 wide-eyed students from Columbia University.

One of the students raised his hand and asked Buffett for his thoughts on the best way to prepare for an investing career. After...

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How to Build Expertise, Talent, and Skill: Lessons From Peyton Manning

(0) Comments | Posted March 9, 2015 | 10:48 AM

It was the first game of the season and Peyton Manning, one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the National Football League, already had a chance to set another NFL record.

Late in the fourth quarter, with the ball on his own 22-yard line, Manning stepped up to...

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How to Solve Big Problems: Lessons Learned From Cancer Scientists

(1) Comments | Posted March 5, 2015 | 12:30 PM

In late November of 1991, a 3-year-old girl was diagnosed with leukemia. There was a 30 percent chance she would die.

In the coming months, she would receive a long list of chemotherapy drugs: 6MP, asparaginase, methotrexate, prednisone, and vincrinstine. The miracle was not only that these drugs could potentially...

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Habit Stacking: How to Build New Habits by Taking Advantage of Old Ones

(1) Comments | Posted February 27, 2015 | 4:13 PM

In 2007, researchers at Oxford University started peering into the brains of newborn babies. What they found was surprising.

After comparing the newborn brains to the normal adult human, the researchers realized that the average adult had 41 percent fewer neurons than the average newborn. [1]

At first...

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What Are You Measuring In Your Life?

(0) Comments | Posted February 26, 2015 | 10:23 AM

Imagine this...

Someone walks into the gym, warms up, does a little bit of this exercise, does a little bit of that exercise, bounces around to a few machines, maybe hops on the treadmill, finishes their workout, and leaves the gym.

This isn't a critique of their workout. In fact,...

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Breaking Bad Habits: How Vietnam War Veterans Broke Their Heroin Addictions

(2) Comments | Posted February 20, 2015 | 3:20 PM

It was 1971 and the Vietnam War was heading into its 16th year when two congressmen, Robert Steele from Connecticut and Morgan Murphy from Illinois, made a discovery that stunned the American public.

While visiting the troops in Vietnam, the two congressmen discovered that over 15 percent of U.S. soldiers...

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Mozart as Medicine: The Health Benefits of Music

(2) Comments | Posted February 18, 2015 | 12:24 PM

David Binanay started playing the violin when he was 5. By age 12, he performed at the world famous Carnegie Hall in New York City and, soon after, at the White House.

In 2006, fresh off graduation from Villanova University, Binanay was positioned perfectly to build his life around music....

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How to Build Skills That Are Valuable: Lessons Learned From Selling Matches

(0) Comments | Posted February 12, 2015 | 7:32 PM

In the early 1940s, a young boy was growing up in the small county of Almhult in southern Sweden. Within a few years, he would impact millions of people. At the time, however, nobody knew his name.

The boy was occupied with a small and relatively simple project. He had...

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The Physics of Productivity: Newton's Laws of Getting Stuff Done

(1) Comments | Posted February 7, 2015 | 12:29 PM

In 1687, Sir Isaac Newton published his groundbreaking book, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, which described his three laws of motion. In the process, Newton laid the foundation for classical mechanics and redefined the way the world looked at physics and science.

What most people don't know, however,...

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How Creative Geniuses Come Up With Great Ideas

(1) Comments | Posted February 5, 2015 | 4:40 PM

In 2002, Markus Zusak sat down to write a book.

He began by mapping out the beginning and the end of the story. Then, he started listing out chapter headings, pages of them. Some made it into the final story, many were cut.

When Zusak began to write out the...

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Measure Backward, Not Forward

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2015 | 3:44 PM

We often measure our progress by looking forward. We set goals. We plan milestones for our progress. Basically, we try to predict the future to some degree.

We do this in business, in health, and in life at large.

  • Can we increase our quarterly earnings by 20 percent?
  • Can I...
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This Simple Equation Reveals How Habits Shape Your Health, Happiness and Wealth

(0) Comments | Posted January 29, 2015 | 3:10 PM

In 1936, a man named Kurt Lewin wrote a simple equation that changed the way we think about habits and human behavior.

The equation makes the following statement: Behavior is a function of the Person in their Environment. [1]

Lewin's Equation

Known today as Lewin's Equation,...

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How to Build Muscle: Proven Strength Lessons From Milo of Croton

(1) Comments | Posted January 22, 2015 | 5:08 PM

Nearly 2,500 years ago, there was a man of incredible strength and athleticism roaming the hills of southern Italy. His name was Milo of Croton, and he was almost certainly the most successful wrestler of his day.

Milo was a six-time wrestling champion at the Ancient Olympic Games in Greece....

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3 Simple Ways to Make Exercise a Habit

(0) Comments | Posted January 22, 2015 | 11:43 AM

A lot of people want to build an exercise habit that sticks. (A 2012 survey analyzed the top ten habits of thousands of people and found that exercise was number one by a long shot. [1])

Of course, wanting to make exercise a habit and actually doing it are two...

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How to Sleep Better: The 3 Ways to Improve Your Sleep

(3) Comments | Posted January 15, 2015 | 7:22 AM

Most people aren't getting enough sleep, plain and simple. But -- and this is the important thing to realize -- we don't recognize that we are sleep deprived.

In my comprehensive article on the science of sleep, "The Beginner's Guide to Overcoming Sleep Deprivation," I covered this problem,...

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How Constraints Make You Better: Why the Right Limitations Can Boost Performance

(0) Comments | Posted January 4, 2015 | 8:37 AM

In 1930, a 23-year-old teacher in Uruguay named Juan Carlos Ceriani created a new sport. Ceriani wanted to design a game that was similar to soccer, but that his students could play indoors throughout the year. His new game became known as futsal.

Futsal is very similar to soccer, but...

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What I Do When It Feels Like My Work Isn't Good Enough

(0) Comments | Posted December 23, 2014 | 4:19 PM

In the beginning, it was easy. There was no pressure. There were no outside eyes. There were no expectations.

When I started writing, I wrote in a private document for over a year before I published my first article on I wrote about what I wanted to write about....

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